A 53 year old Johannesburg businessman, Mahesh Kalidas, decided to self exclude himself from all land based casinos in South Africa. Self exclusion is a common practice used by those who may have a gambling problem and are an integral part of responsible gaming for both online and land based casinos. The program is supposed to keep problem gamblers away from casinos, but Mr. Kalidas couldn’t help himself and he decided to give his luck a try anyhow at the Montecasino.
To his surprise he ended up winning a slot machine jackpot worth R129,000 on October 31, 2012. Instead of a nice payout he was instead charged with trespassing by the local authorities. Montecasino also immediately confiscated the winning jackpot, and has been holding the funds pending the outcome of an investigation by the Gauteng Gambling Board.
However, all is not lost for Mr. Kalidas. In his complaint he claims that before he won the jackpot the Montecasino allowed him to gamble on many occasions and gamble up to R40,000 until he hit the jackpot. According to Kalidas, “Casinos are happy to allow banned gamblers back to lose, but the moment they win they are charged with trespassing and thrown out.”
The outcome of the investigation by the Gauteng Gambling Board may set a precedent for the seizure of winnings by excluded gamblers. It may also be a wakeup call to casino operators to keep a closer eye on who is frequenting their establishments.